Pre18 is a pre-accelerator program powered by Parallel18. Similar to Parallel18, pre18 is an economic development initiative that aims to create and develop high-impact startups that can scale from Puerto Rico to global communities beyond the island, but with a specific and exclusive focus on local startups that may not yet have traction and can validate their product and market in the short term to become Parallel18 ready (hereinafter, also referred to as the “Program”). The Program’s mission is to generate and support more Puerto Rican entrepreneurs and increase their chance of success in the short term, and to expand their horizons to create economic development in the long term. Pre18 harnesses the uniqueness of Puerto Rico, including: a multicultural society and a connected diaspora throughout the world; convenient geographic location; lower cost of living and resources; and competitive taxation under US laws. All of these elements, combined with additional business incentives, make the island a great place for local talent to channel their creativity into thriving startups that can grow globally and have a positive impact in the recovery of Puerto Rico’s economy.
2. MAIN GOAL
The purpose of the Program is to create and develop global impact businesses that can scale from the island of Puerto Rico by providing targeted support to early stage startups still in need of product and/or market validation, creating a positive cultural entrepreneurial environment that fosters more local entrepreneurs with a greater chance of success, as well as economic impact through the creation of sustainable companies in the long term.
Startups that apply must be incorporated in Puerto Rico or the United States. In the case that your company is not incorporated in any of these locations, the Program will support you in this process upon starting the Program. Only founders that own fifty percent (50%) or more of their startup may apply. The founder applying to the Program must be over eighteen (18) years of age, and the Program participants may not be more than three persons. Pre18 reserves the right to use its discretionary faculty to accept team members below the age of eighteen (18) as extraordinary situations may arise.
The following categories will be considered:
The entity is the legal company duly specified in the application form behind the startup applying to the Program (hereinafter, also referred to as the “Project”). The entity needs to be incorporated in the United States or Puerto Rico as a Corp. or LLC company. In the case that the company does not have this legal structure, pre18 will assist you to create one during the beginning of the program.
The team leader, also known as the beneficiary, is a natural person, duly specified during the application form, that is an original founder of the startup and continues to be a C-level member directly involved in the company’s business strategy and decision making, who must act in name and representation of him or herself and of the executors as the person responsible before pre18. The person designated as the team leader must participate full-time in the program, during the entire period of the program, and be exclusively dedicated to the development of this project; likewise, the beneficiary will be the active and passive subject of all rights and obligations established in the Grant Agreement, including detailed reports on expenses and activities materialized by the beneficiary or third parties. The team leader must be a U.S. citizen and/or a legal resident of Puerto Rico.
Optionally, the participation of up to two natural persons who may form part of the founding team or are key members required to validate the company’s product and/or market, and who are duly specified during the application process, may be considered and are welcomed to join the program if they require to do so. Therefore if any additional team members will be joining, it is required to be in attendance for the entire Pre18 onboarding activities. If the team members that plan to participate in person in pre18 are not U.S. citizens, they must have the ability to apply for a visa to enter the U.S.
5. ACTIVITIES ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCING.
Those activities that enable the launch and scaling of companies with high global growth potential that use Puerto Rico as a platform to grow. Projects may not consist of consulting services, traditional export companies, or lifestyle businesses, as these are not considered to be highly scalable projects or with high growth potential.Therefore, projects must be at least: in a stage where there is a minimum viable product; or a functional prototype. Software companies must be ready to start selling at the beginning of the program, or if a hardware company, by the end of the program or earlier. Project must have one full time founder dedicated exclusively to the company that is able to execute if accepted to the Program. Finally, project applying to the Program has been in operations for 3 years or less.
6. PROGRAM ACTIVITIES.
The Program will include a variety of activities and/or events, which will be made available to participants of each project, and among which a distinction will be made between mandatory and optional activities.
During participation in the 3-month Program and during the term of execution of the project, the beneficiary must participate in the following mandatory activities:
a) Pre18 Onboarding: The Onboarding activities are mandatory for the team leader and all team members who will participate in the program at any time. The activities include:
b) Weekly follow up meeting: You will be required to meet with the Program staff to analyze weekly progress and strategic plans, in order to facilitate the accomplishments of the goals by providing access to the right resources.
c) Weekly submission feedback of mentor engagements: Beneficiary will be required to submit feedback after every mentor talk and after every meeting 1:1 with a mentor.
d) Midpoint evaluation: Beneficiary will meet with Program staff and provide a detailed update of their progress. Program will use the information gathered from program staff and mentors to analyze in detail the progress of the company during the first 6 weeks of the Program. If the company does not meet Program standards for progress compared with actual performance, the goals that they set at the beginning, or comply with required attendance, participation and engagement, the Program is entitled to put an early end to the project.
e) Parallel18 Eligibility Assessment: By the midpoint stage of the program you will be eligible to complete a Parallel18 application through the YouNoodle platform, which will be used by the P18 team to assess the project’s readiness to be advanced to Parallel18’s Final Selection for the cohort immediately following the pre18 program in which the project is participating.
g) Demo Day: Key public event to showcase accomplishments in the Program to local and foreign corporate partners, local investors as well as the local business community.
h) Exit Interview: Final meeting to close out the Program, discuss plans to continue growing and sustaining the company, and get feedback from the participants about the Program.
i) Other activities: within the pre18 Program that are designated as mandatory, (i.e., Mentor Talks, P18 Sessions, Pay It Forward activities and more) a circumstance that will be communicated in advance to the team leader.
It the beneficiary does not participate in the activities and/ or events specified herein without previous authorization to be excused, the Program may evaluate putting an early end to the Project, depending on the reasons.
6.2 Optional Activities.
Optionally, the team leader or team member may participate in and/or carry out the following activities, unless these have been categorized as mandatory, as set out in the previous subsection:
7. CONTENTS OF THE PROJECT
7.1 The applications must contain at least the following:
Puerto Rican participants: Official photocopy of national identification card, on both sides, and/or a simple photocopy of the page indicating the name, identification number and dates of granting and expiration of the ID. In both cases documents must be valid.
Foreign participants: Official photocopies of the page indicating the name, identification number and dates of granting and expiration of the passport
In the case where these documents listed above are in the process of validation, a copy of the document that proves this condition must be attached.
7.2. Additionally, the applications may contain the following:
- Motivation to develop the project.
- Participation in organizations related to entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Relationship with international networks to position Puerto Rico as an innovation hub.
- Activities to promote interaction, networking and the transfer of knowledge skills and best practices to local entrepreneurs and their environment.
- Commercialization and scalability strategy.
- Entry and exit barriers.
- Progress to date and plan during pre18.
- Market challenge or opportunity addressed by the Project.
- Target market and its size.
- Market position.
- Letters of recommendation (optional).
Incomplete applications will be deemed not submitted.
The Program duration is 12 weeks and will be understood to have begun on the date established by pre18 as orientation day. This date will be notified once the companies are selected.
The Puerto Rico Science Technology and Research Trust will provide a grant, in other words, a transfer of money to the company's bank account for 20 thousand dollars (USD) delivered in various sets throughout the program, subject to the participant’s compliance with the terms and conditions set forth herein. All disbursed and used funds need to be properly declared by showing corporate bank statements, and in certain cases an invoice of the service or product acquired, or a contract/payroll stub in the case an individual hired or contracted, per the Program rules.
This program will be made available to interested parties in the form of application to a competition.
Communication about the opening of a call for applications will be conducted by means of a notice published in the program’s website and social media platforms, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology, and Research Trust’s website, and a public event open to the community.
10.2 Means of application.
Companies, along with the requested technical and economic documentation, may be entered solely through the electronic platform entry system available on the website www.parallel18.com or www.elboricuaselasinventa.com.
The accompanying documents must be text documents, spreadsheets or other files compatible with the system (such as doc, xls, jpg, pdf).
10.3 Limit of applications.
Each applicant, even if not designated as team lead, may only apply once with one project per application period. Therefore, every team member must be working in only one project per cohort. If a team member is part of various applications for different projects, Program may consider the Project and/or applicant invalid.
11. EVALUATION PROCESS AND CRITERIA.
There will be 3 Phases of the evaluation process:
11.1 Analysis of Pertinence or Relevance
The pre18 team, will initially review all applications to determine if they are a good fit for the Program. Those that pass this Screening Round will advance to the Judging Round.
The Program will examine the extent of convergence of the project´s objective with the guidelines and objectives of the Program, verifying the consideration of the level of readiness of the product or service, imminence of going to market, team dedication and fit, and the scalability of the project, among other factors. Likewise, compliance with the following requirements will be verified:
As a result of this analysis, pre18 will classify, on a justified basis, the relevance or irrelevance of the projects. If a declaration of "Not Relevant” is declared, the project will not continue in the evaluation process, with this decision communicated to the applicant within a period not exceeding 20 days, counted from the closing of the application period.
The Program, with support from YouNoodle, will facilitate a panel of international experts, composed of Parallel18 alumni and other Parallel18 collaborators, to evaluate the applications, giving them a score of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the minimum score and 5 the maximum score) on the following evaluation criteria:
11.3 Product or Service (25%)
A critical aspect of evaluating the project is how differentiated and innovative their product or service is. Given this is an earlier stage accelerator, the product requirements are that software companies need to have a minimum viable product (MVP) by the start of the program and hardware companies need to have a functional prototype by the end of the program or earlier.
11.4 Market and Competitive Positioning (25%)
All submissions should target a global market and also be clearly differentiated from competitors. Projects may be rejected if they are only considering one sole market.
11.6 Team Mix, Qualification & Experience (25%)
The entrepreneurs and teams that we are seeking should be both accomplished and respected individuals along with having a strong and cohesive team and experience in the industry they are addressing.
11.7 Team Focus and Dedication (15%)
The entrepreneurs and teams must be fully dedicated to their business and not using the pre18 program simply as an opportunity to receive funding. Given the early stage nature of the participating projects, it is acceptable if founders have been working part time on the project prior to the application, as long as at least one founder is able to commit to working full time on the startup during the pre-acceleration program.
11.8 Impact in Puerto Rico (10%)
We want to make sure that this team is going to be an impactful member of the emerging startup community in Puerto Rico.
11.9 Interview Round:
During the evaluation period, an in-person interview may be requested if needed to clarify questions from the evaluators, including potentially demonstrating updated progress for the service or product proposed on Project.
11.10 Final Selection: A local selection board composed of experienced members will make the decision to select up to 40 final companies for the Program.
Once the evaluation is concluded, the program will have 72 hours to inform the applicants about the final decision and extend an offer to join the Program.
Upon the company’s acceptance of the offer to join Program, which includes acknowledgement and full acceptance of Grant Agreement including Program terms and conditions, the process of Onboarding begins, which requires the execution of tasks by both the team leader of the company and by the Program.
14.1 Mode of Delivery
After the execution of the contract between the U.S. entity and pre18, the total amount of the funds will be delivered in various sets throughout the program, the first set being at the beginning of the program for $10,000. The grant can only be deposited in a Puerto Rico based corporate bank account.
14.2 Conditions for delivery of the grant.
The conditions for Program to deliver the grant shall be as follows:
Pre18 reserves the right to verify that the technical and legal information declared is valid and, in the event that any serious unconformity is found, in addition to suspending the delivery of the grant or early termination of the project, it will, if applicable, prosecute civil complaints or report criminal activities to authorities against the possible configuration of any actionable actions under Puerto Rico and federal law.
14.3 Suspension of payments
Continuity in the delivery of funds shall be subject to the evaluation made by Program of the project’s progress and to budgetary availability of funds.
Pre18, at its sole discretion, may suspend delivery of funds and dismiss a company from the Program during the Onboarding period or at the beginning of the program if the startup makes significant changes in the project, business model and/or founding team from those stated in the application, specifically if it fundamentally changes the company’s ability to scale and/or use Puerto Rico as a platform to grow, so that it is no longer aligned with Program’s pre-acceleration experience.
Pre18 may suspend payments temporarily or permanently if it finds that the project is not being carried out in a satisfactory manner or that the beneficiary has failed to fulfill his or her obligations in whole or in part. In these cases, Program shall impose the measures it deems appropriate to correct the deficiencies detected, or to terminate the project early. If the project is terminated early, the recipient must repay the entire grant received as of the date in which pre18 informed the early termination of the project through a written notice.
Additionally, prior to finalizing the process of putting an early end to the project, pre18 may order the team to refrain from making further expenditures from the delivered grant. In this case, it may accept expenses associated with activities undertaken up to the date of communication of said order.
Pre18 shall provide due notice to the project once suspension of payments and of expenses has been chosen as the course of action.
14.4 Accounts and Expenses Eligible for Financing
Costs associated with development of the project may be included in the following accounts:
Proposed expenses must be consulted and approved by Program for funds disbursement.
14.5 Expenses Not Eligible for Financing
With the funds provided by Pre18 for the project, the following items are not eligible for financing:
14.6 Account Reporting
For purposes of account reporting, a pecuniary or cash contribution will be defined as the expenditure of funds due to project execution. In other words, the use of pre-existing facilities, infrastructure, or human resources of the contributor do not correspond to this concept.
Expenditures charged to pre18’s grant must be reported based on actual costs, at the price actually paid, duly supported with reliable documents that verify the amount.
Notwithstanding the latter, pre18 will verify that the amount claimed as a contribution to the project is consistent with the objectives and activities reported.
Expenses incurred in the name of the beneficiary and executors (other participants) that are designated in the application will be accepted. Costs of a Limited Liability Company or a Corporation whose owner is the beneficiary, or of a company in which the beneficiary has a shareholding of at least 30% (thirty percent), will be accepted, as long as said company:
These circumstances will be verified by pre18, for which purpose the beneficiary must submit, within 10 days prior to the first expenditure expected to be paid by the company or partnership, the following documents:
14.7 Prepaid Expenses
Expenses incurred in the execution of the project from the date of communication of the approval decision may be accepted, as applicable, at the risk of the beneficiary. Therefore, the lack of formalization of the Grant Agreement will not result in either compensation or reimbursement.
14.8 Monitoring and Reporting
Pre18 holds the authority to track the activities of the beneficiary, of the other participants and of third parties hired, without any prior notice. To this end, in the case of hiring activities with third parties, the power of monitoring and control shall be recorded in the contracts entered into by the beneficiary with such entities, with the beneficiary being responsible for breach of its obligations in the event of omission, and if difficulties arise from it for conducting the monitoring duties detailed above. Nevertheless, pre18 does not assume co-management or co-execution of the project, with project execution remaining the sole responsibility of the beneficiary.
The beneficiary must comply with the calendar of monitoring meetings provided by his or her startup executive, and with the delivery of reports in accordance with Program requirements. These reports shall contain at least the identification of the activities implemented and results obtained.
As per the Grant Agreement, the beneficiary is responsible for the delivery of a final use of funds and expenses report made within 2 weeks after the expiration date of the term for project execution. This term may be extended at the request of the beneficiary and subject to the approval of Program.
Notwithstanding the latter and in accordance with the nature of the project, the Grant Agreement may provide for the delivery of progress reports, the number and timing of which will be determined by pre18 taking into account the characteristics of the project, the activities of the latter, the results and Program’s own budget availability.
The number and timing of progress reports may be modified by pre18, upon a founded request by the beneficiary, or of its own accord, before the deadline has passed for said delivery.
Pre18 may request extraordinary progress reports for the periods determined in light of monitoring of project activities, with no amendment of the Grant Agreement being necessary in this case.
Pre18 shall approve or provide comments to the progress reports and extraordinary reports within a term of 14 days after material reception of these, or from the date of the on-site review, as applicable.
In response to a request by pre18 for documentation, modification or supplementation of reports, the Beneficiary must comply with such a request within the 3 days of the request.
Reports that do not contain all the information requested or do not attach all supporting records that are required for both technical and financial analysis, or that do not attach a legible copy of these, shall be construed as not filed. Pre18 shall notify the beneficiary within a period of 5 days from receipt of the report, establishing a term not exceeding 5 days from receipt of the notification to complete the submission of the report.
Without prejudice to the other grounds for early termination set forth in these requirements, pre18 may adopt such a decision in the following cases, applying the sanctions detailed below:
15.1 Early termination of the project for reasons not attributable to the beneficiary
Pre18 may impose an early end to the project on its own initiative or at the request of the team leader in the following situations:
If requested by the beneficiary and accepted by pre18, it shall be understood that the project has been finished early, from the date of the request.
The beneficiary must deliver a final use of funds report, within a reasonable period to be set out in the notification of early termination, which shall not exceed 30 days from the complete processing of the same. The beneficiary shall return the balance from the grant that has not been justified as actual and eligible company expenses, and shall renounce to all balances that have not been paid by Program.
15.2 Early termination of the project by deed or act attributable to the beneficiary
Pre18 may put an early end to the project if the beneficiary fails to comply through negligence or lacks due diligence of his or her obligations. The following situations may constitute breach of the contract:
In this case, the recipient must repay the entire grant received, expressed in on the date for which pre18 informed the early termination of the project through a written notice. The refund will be made within 15 days of the notice of early termination to the beneficiary. Pre18 shall make effective the guarantee deposit constituted only if the beneficiary does not make restitution within the agreed-upon deadline.
The participants warrant and represent to pre18 as follows:
The participants shall be considered as having the legal status of an independent partner vis-à-vis pre18, and nothing contained in or relating to their grant shall be construed as establishing or creating an employer/employee relationship with pre18.
Pre18 shall not be responsible for any loss, accident, damage or injury suffered by the participants, arising during or as a result of the grant, including travel, whether sustained on pre18’s premises or not.
The waiver by either pre18 or any participant of any provision or breach of these terms and conditions and, if selected, contract shall not prevent subsequent enforcement of such provision or excuse further breaches.
The participants hereby indemnify and hold pre18 harmless from and against the full amount of any and all claims and liabilities, including legal fees and costs, which are or may be made, filed or assessed against pre18 at any time and based on, or arising out of, breach by the participants of any of its representations or warranties under these terms and conditions and, if selected, contract, regardless of whether such representations and warranties are explicitly incorporated here in or are referred to in any attached Appendices.
The participants shall not assign, transfer, pledge or make any other disposition of the Contract or any part thereof, or any of their rights, claims or obligations under the Contract except with the prior written consent of pre18.
Questions may be addressed in English or Spanish to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.